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Author Topic: Degrease a chain before sharpening?  (Read 5368 times)

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Offline LeeK

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Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« on: October 22, 2013, 01:31:20 PM »
I just started using a Northern Industrial benchmount grinder, picked it up used.  Is it necessary to degrease a chain before sharpening?  I have .325, .050 chain, I'm using smallest wheel, 1/4", per specs.  I lack the dressing stone, although I think I have another,  I also lack the plastic piece that shows the correct arc or shape of the nose of the wheel.  Should I just guess the shape?
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Offline Philbert

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2013, 08:31:49 PM »
OK, we have at least 3 questions here:

1. I clean most chains before grinding because I want to inspect them for damage, wear, improvised field repairs, etc. I also want to keep that junk out of my grinding wheels and to be able to see what I am doing.

Exception would be for fairly clean chains, which might get brushed off, or hit with compressed air if available.

2. Dressing the grinding wheel is an important, and often overlooked step. One reason to dress the edge of the wheel is to shape it (Question 3), as this determines the profile of your cutters.

You want a half round edge profile for most chain sharpening. If you are not comfortable with eyeballing this, take an old credit card and draw a line down the middle. Drill a 1/8", a 3/16", and a 1/4" hole along the line. Cut the card in half, along the line with a razor knife. Now you have 2 wheel profile gauges.

The overlooked reason for dressing is to clean the edge (back to Question 2) and to expose fresh abrasive. Gunk builds up in the spaces between the abrasive grit, and the sharp corners of the grit wear.  If you don't dress it you are rubbing your steel cutters with dirty, dull, cutting edges which is slow, and leads to overheating, bluing, and bad comments about grinders.

I lightly dress the wheel edge a couple of times when grinding an average loop, and any time it seems to be slowing down.

Philbert

Offline Philbert

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2013, 08:39:23 PM »
Most .325 chain should be ground with an 1/8" or 3/16" wheel, depending on the shape of the cutter and how far back it is ground (cutter teeth get lower as they get shorter in length).

1/4" wheel is usually shaped at a bevel for lowering depth gauges, or used for much larger chain.

Visit the manufacturer's website for your chain to get their recommendations, or download an owner's manual for your grinder.

Philbert

Offline LeeK

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2013, 10:13:27 AM »
Philbert, your tip on using a credit card approaches blue-collar genius.  I'm betting people say you are a lot smarter than you look.  I actually am using a 1/8'' wheel, I mis-stated before, the grinder came with a manual including specs for the chain in question.  I thought to use the stone to flatten the largest wheel to use on the rakers, since I don't have any big chains and that grinder was heavily used by the previous owner, maybe set the depth on the grinder to uniformly grind them all down to clearance.  Thanks again for the info.
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Offline Philbert

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2013, 01:41:09 PM »
For what it is worth, I posted my chain cleaning method in another forum, but might as well add it here, since it has come up.

I use 'Super Clean' (sodium hydroxide-based purple cleaner/degreaser - works better than 'Purple Power'. ZEP industrial purple cleaner also looks like it might work) diluted 1:1 with water. Wear protective gloves and splash goggles.

Swishing the chains around in a cut-down jug for about 10 seconds gets rid of most of the basic crud. Laying the chains flat and hitting them with an old toothbrush takes care of most of the rest. The worst chains go back for a second bath. Rinse them out in a couple changes of clear water, then dry them for about 10 minutes in an oven on an old cookie sheet at about 150 to 200 to prevent rusting.

It goes pretty fast if you're doing a batch of chains.

Since you have removed all of the oil make sure to re-ubricate them after grinding to prevent rusting. I spray the chains down with WD-40 from a trigger sprayer in an old cake pan lined with a few paper towels. The towels remain in the pan for subsequent batches.

This works even on chains so gunked up that you can't read the make or model stampings, and I have 'saved' many neglected chains this way. It will not remove rust, but is a necessary step prior to rust removal methods, if you need to do that as well.

Philbert

Offline JohnG28

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2013, 02:06:57 PM »
Philbert, you're wife must love your use of her baking utensils.  :D
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Offline luvmexfood

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2013, 02:13:24 PM »
Maybe if anyone ever visited and was offered baked goods it might be a good idea to not partake. Just funning. Nothing serious. Life is too short to not joke and kid sometimes. Just had a 35 year old nephew fall while working on a commode, hit his head, and it killed him.  Sad.
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Offline sharkey

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2013, 03:18:21 PM »
Philbert,
Your the man for the cc hole drilling trick.  Thanks!

Offline Philbert

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2013, 04:18:33 PM »
Philbert, you're wife must love your use of her baking utensils.

That's what garage sales are for! I keep my shop 'cookware' separate.

I once remarked how much 'manly' chainsaw guys rely on domestic stuff: dishwashers to clean saw parts; ovens to heat bearings and bake on paint; USC jewelry cleaners to clean carbs; old Tupperware containers to store parts; zip-lock bags to store chains; muffin tins and ice cube trays to sort screws and small parts; oven cleaner to remove gunk; vinegar to remove rust; liquid laundry detergent bottles for bar oil (spill proof spouts); crock pots as parts washers; toothbrushes and toothpicks to clean everything; Playtex gloves; tweezers, tongs, slotted spoons, etc., etc., etc.

And that is before we get to the clear nail polish to fix tears in fabric, nylon stockings for pre-air filters, and certain feminine hygiene products in first aid kits to control major bleeding.

I'm surprised more guys don't show up at GTG's wearing aprons!

Philbert

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2013, 08:17:01 PM »
All good advice given.An old worn down bench grinder wheel can be used to dress sharpener wheels.I use a diamond grit dressing tool shaped like a letter "T",grits on top. I never worry about cleaning the chains before sharpening only after to remove any grit or metal dust from the chain.I have a big can of solvent to swish the sharpened chain around then in a can of oil and into a ziplock bag.  Frank C.
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Offline Full Chisel

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2013, 09:20:23 PM »
Dang Philbert got all over it. If you do all that, your chains are gonna last. I use the end of the dressing brick to shape the wheel. Your wheels will last longest and cut best if you keep the wheels from getting contaminated. I use, "Challenger," cleaner to get out all the sap and dirty oil. Same as Philbert uses, sodium hydroxide based. Rubbermaid makes some too $9 per gallon concentrate.
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Offline Full Chisel

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2013, 09:29:47 PM »
It makes things a lot more clear when your chains are clean and you can read all the stampings. A mechanic needs to be able to identify things for exactly what they are. Some thing with moving parts gets to have them parts kept clean. That's just old school.
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Offline angelo c

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2013, 12:36:58 AM »
Philbert, you're wife must love your use of her baking utensils.

That's what garage sales are for! I my shop 'cookware' separate.

I once remarked how much 'manly' chainsaw guys rely on domestic stuff: dishwashers to clean saw parts; ovens to heat bearings and bake on paint; USC jewelry cleaners to clean carbs; old Tupperware containers to store parts; zip-lock bags to store chains; muffin tins and ice cube trays to sort screws and small parts; oven cleaner to remove gunk; vinegar to remove rust; liquid laundry detergent bottles for bar oil (spill proof spouts); crock pots as parts washers; toothbrushes and toothpicks to clean everything; Playtex gloves; tweezers, tongs, slotted spoons, etc., etc., etc.

And that is before we get to the clear nail polish to fix tears in fabric, nylon stockings for pre-air filters, and certain feminine hygiene products in first aid kits to control major bleeding.

I'm surprised more guys don't show up at GTG's wearing aprons!

Philbert

I use my daughters nail polish( bright blue currently) to mark a cutter while hand sharpening....wont try to use the wife's...shes mean !!!
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Offline jdonovan

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2013, 08:48:35 AM »
I use my daughters nail polish( bright blue currently) to mark a cutter while hand sharpening....wont try to use the wife's...shes mean !!!

I use a paint pen, but same idea. Use a nice bright color thats easy to see. Its also a good way to tell a fresh chain from a dull one when they are out in the field.

Offline Philbert

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2013, 11:25:50 AM »
I like the bright nail polish. Especially helpful when some chains have more than one 'master link'.

I used to use a black marker, but it was hard to see. Now I usually use a wire twist tie.

Philbert

Offline maple flats

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2013, 07:40:33 PM »
I only use a black marker on the top of the 1st tooth sharpened, it still shows up enough to see when done.
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Offline 7sleeper

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2013, 01:19:07 PM »
I grind a small angle at the wrong end of the cutter as a marking. Never need a pen, nail polish, etc. ever again. Further I am lazy redressing the wheel so I flip it to use the other side.

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Offline Icehouse

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2013, 01:33:57 PM »
To clean the chain before sharpening I make a slight cut in either white fir or birch. Seems to clean pitch and stuff from cutting tamarack or red fir. Then put saw on tailgate or stump and file away, helps keep new file clean.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2013, 06:01:09 PM »
A ripping cut can also help clean out crud from a chain. It's been a while since Ive done this, but I remember finding that some angles work better than others for this.  I may be remembering incorrectly, but holding the saw perpendicular (like a chainsaw mill would do) doesn't work to well for cleaning.
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Offline CTYank

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Re: Degrease a chain before sharpening?
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2013, 10:47:13 AM »
Philbert, you're wife must love your use of her baking utensils.

That's what garage sales are for! I my shop 'cookware' separate.

I once remarked how much 'manly' chainsaw guys rely on domestic stuff: dishwashers to clean saw parts; ovens to heat bearings and bake on paint; USC jewelry cleaners to clean carbs; old Tupperware containers to store parts; zip-lock bags to store chains; muffin tins and ice cube trays to sort screws and small parts; oven cleaner to remove gunk; vinegar to remove rust; liquid laundry detergent bottles for bar oil (spill proof spouts); crock pots as parts washers; toothbrushes and toothpicks to clean everything; Playtex gloves; tweezers, tongs, slotted spoons, etc., etc., etc.

And that is before we get to the clear nail polish to fix tears in fabric, nylon stockings for pre-air filters, and certain feminine hygiene products in first aid kits to control major bleeding.

I'm surprised more guys don't show up at GTG's wearing aprons!

Philbert

Well, aprons would be a problem- loose articles of clothing and moving saw chains don't mix.
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